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UN chief calls for immediate investigate into Egypt protest deaths

January 27, 2015 at 11:28 am

The Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, has called for an “immediate investigation” into the killing of 23 Egyptian protesters on the anniversary of the 2011 revolution which toppled Hosni Mubarak. Mr Ban’s spokesman told Anadolu on Monday that he is “strongly disturbed” by reports of the clashes in Egypt

“The Secretary-General calls for an immediate and impartial investigation into these incidents,” said Estefan Dogrk. “He always stresses that dialogue is the best way to resolve differences.”

Earlier in the day, Human Rights Watch reported that the killings during the anniversary demonstrations require “an independent investigation into the authorities’ excessive use of force to quell apparently peaceful protests.” The Middle East and North Africa director of HRW, Sarah Leah Whitson, pointed out that after four years of Egypt’s revolution, “police officers are still killing protesters on a regular basis.”

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim claimed at a press conference that Egypt is being targeted by external as well as some internal forces for it to fail. “The interior ministry is an executive institution and not a legislative one and thereby it is committed to the implementation of the anti- demonstration law,” he claimed in justification. “This prevents the organisation of demonstrations without prior approval.”

Ibrahim added that “technical and forensic reports” will be provided to the public in order to reveal the identity of those responsible for the killings. He claimed to have full control of the security situation in many of Egypt’s 27 governorates.

In response to a question about the use of firearms in the control of riots and protests, the minister explained that there are two types of security forces: Special Operations Forces equipped with heavy firearms and an anti-riot force, which is responsible for dealing with demonstrations and protests in the street. The latter are armed with tear gas and scatter guns. “If our forces fired their scatter guns in Talaat Harb Square in central Cairo, the number of victims would have turned the place into a pool of blood,” he pointed out.

He claimed that 516 Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested and security forces thwarted “many terrorist plans” in the past few days.

Protests swept several Egyptian governorates to mark the fourth anniversary of the 26 January 2011 Revolution. The Egyptian Health Ministry said that 23 people were killed during the protest, but sources at the pro-Morsi alliance put the death toll at 25.